3-D images of ancient fossils

    A 650-million-year-old fossil from Kazakhstan

    Top: optical image of fossil cyanobacterium.

    Middle: confocal optical image of the same fossil.

    Bottom L: close-up of section of confocal optical image.

    Bottom R: Raman chemical image of same boxed region

    Credit: Dr. J. William Schopf/UCLA

UCLA paleobiologists have produced 3-D images of ancient fossils – 650 million to 850 million years old – preserved in rocks. A technique called confocal laser scanning microscopy was used.

    “We can look underneath the fossil, see it from the top, from the sides, and rotate it around; we couldn’t do that with any other technique, but now we can, because of confocal laser scanning microscopy. In addition, even though the fossils are exceedingly tiny, the images are sharp and crisp. So, we can see how the fossils have degraded over millions of years, and learn what are real biological features and what has been changed over time.” – J. William Schopf.

Thanks to Olgui.